You must have heard of 3-D printing but do you know what it’s all about? It has become all the hype in recent years and its not surprising that it’s an important part of the fashion world too. As designers start to find out about the benefits of 3-D printing, they are getting on board with it.
So what is 3-D printing? 3-D printing, also referred to as ‘additive manufacturing’, is when you make three-dimensional objects digitally, which means that there are no dyes, etc., involved in this process. 3-D printing enables you to produce all kinds of complex designs using barely any material as compared to more conventional printing methods.
When it comes to the fashion industry, 3-D clothing is limited to haute couture for renowned designers. However, that being said, it is growing and is likely to expand in the coming years. This is because 3-D printing is convenient and allows you to create brilliant designs that were not possible otherwise. Consider it to be wearable art.
Another major reason why designers and brands are turning towards 3-D printing is because of its sustainability. Not only is it being used for clothing but also shoes and jewelry. 3-D printed jewelery is becoming quite popular. It is great for prototyping as well as production. Due to 3-D printing, you will have a better product. Sculpteo is one of the brands that does 3-D printing in jewelry currently.
Benefits Of 3-D Manufacturing Over Traditional Manufacturing
While there are many benefits of 3-D printing, the biggest one is its sustainability. With the increasing awareness and move towards sustainable methods in almost everything today, designers and clothing producers are constantly seeking methods to be more sustainable.
3-D printing is environmentally-friendly. Since there aren’t many materials being used in its process, it helps reduce wastage. In traditional printing, on the other hand, there is a variety of materials used from dyes to color fabrics and textile scraps, leading to a lot of wastage and even water pollution. To add to that, traditional printing requires a lot of water for the manufacturing of textiles and fabrics. Not only is water pollution a concern but air pollution is a big concern too. 3-D printing is a great solution to all of those problems.
So not only does it prevent a lot of wastage but it also reuses and recycles materials, which is why it’s so environmentally-friendly! Even though there aren’t many materials being used that would lead to wastage, there are some that do because of human error. Let’s say you aren’t happy with a particular design and print it again, instead of this old one becoming just another scrap it will be recycled and reused. New products are then made from reusing these plastic scraps.
Who Makes 3-D Printed Garments?
Many top designers and brands are now making 3-D printed garments, shoes, etc. While some are making limited pieces, others are trying to move towards it. Here are some examples of the top ones:
1. The Spider Dress
Anouk Wipprecht’s Spider Dress is a fashion masterpiece. The entire dress is 3-D printed. It also has mechanical arms that extend and retract as a response to when people come near them.
2. Alexis Walsh
Alexis Walsh is a designer who created a 3-D printed dress by herself using selective laser sintering. It took her a minimum of 6 months to develop this beautiful dress using 3-D printing. The dress has 400 tiles that are made by hand.
Adidas recently launched its Futurecraft 4D project, this is where they make shoes with a midsole, which is in collaboration with Carbon 3D. By using digital printing for footwear you are allowed the opportunity to work on new designs for previous products, and that’s exactly what Adidas did! These shoes are mass-produced using 3D printing, thus we can see that Adidas is taking 3-D printing a step further with their project with Carbon.
4. 3-D Printing For Regular Clothes
Julia Daviy is a designer who uses 3-D printing for her collections. She aims to create biodegradable fashion and to create change in the way that we produce clothes. The designer’s collection included 3-D printed dresses and tops. Unlike other 3-D printed clothes
that designers are producing, Daviy’s are easy to wear on an everyday basis as she is trying to move towards it for mass production.
When Will 3-D Printed Options Become More Accessible?
Your next question is probably when these 3-D printed options will become accessible and the answer is pretty soon! It is already starting to become more and more popular so its not going to be too long before it starts becoming more accessible. Many popular design schools and fashion institutes currently have 3-D printers on campus. To add to that, they are also conducting courses for 3-D printed fashion as that will essentially be the future of fashion.
Before you know it, it is going to go mainstream. Big companies, such as BMW, are already switching to it so it isn’t long before it takes over the fashion world too. According to the Harvard Business Review, McKinsey recently reported that 3-D printing is “ready to emerge from its niche status and become a viable alternative to conventional manufacturing processes in an increasing number of applications.” It has already become more affordable, more accessible and will take over in the next 10 years.
3-D printing is the future of the fashion world. We have slowly started to move towards it and with the increasing amount of awareness because of huge brands like BMW and Adidas, other designers will be motivated to make the shift too. Sustainable, affordable and more cost-cutting, very soon traditional modes of printing will not be as common and will be replaced by 3-D printing.